Irving Pipe Maker Forterra Names New CEO Following Resignation

An executive at a Colorado company will become the new chief executive officer of Forterra Inc., an Irving pipe manufacturer with $1.5 billion in sales last year.Karl Watson Jr., 55, also will take a spot on Forterra’s board of directors. He previously was chief operating officer at Summit Materials Inc., a Denver-based construction materials company. “The board is confident that Karl is ideally suited to execute our strategic initiatives and position Forterra for growth while creating increased value for all our stakeholders,” Forterra board chairman Chris Meyer said in a statement.Watson will replace Jeff Bradley, whose resignation is effective this week, the company said. Bradley had been CEO since September 2015.Investors sued Bradley and several other officers and board members in January, alleging the company pursued high-cost acquisitions and ballooned its debt to $1.2 billion without a plan for organic growth. There are two similar lawsuits pending against the company.“Given the stage of the proceedings, the Company cannot reasonably estimate at this time the possible loss or range of loss, if any, that may arise from the Securities Action, the Maloney Action or the Lee Action,” Forterra said in its annual Securities and Exchange Commission filing.It’s unclear if the leadership change is related to the lawsuit. Watson was president of the U.S. branch of CEMEX, a Mexican-based building materials company, from 2011 to 2016. He was president of Martin Marietta Inc.'s cement & Southwest ready mix division in 2017.At Forterra, he’s set to make up to $2.6 million in his first full year of work. His 2019 payout will be prorated. He starts July 1. Forterra produces drainage and water pipes used in a variety of construction projects. Its 2018 revenue was down from $1.6 billion the year before, a decline the company attributed to divestitures. It reported a $24 million loss for the year.Even though sales were up through the first three months of this year, the company projected its full-year loss would range from $16 million to $38 million.The company employs about 4,100 people in the United States. Total employment, including workers in Canada and Mexico, is near 4,700. Forterra operates 79 plants in the U.S. and Canada.Bradley, who made just over $4 million in 2018, exits with a separation package that includes over $3 million in cash. He’ll also keep 105,000 shares he now holds through July 2021 and receive reimbursement for health care premiums for a year after his departure on June 30.Independent board member John McPherson will move into the role of lead director and vice chairman of the board. He’s tasked with ensuring a smooth leadership transition, the company said. McPherson will receive stock options worth $354,500.Shares of the company fell 12.5% to $3.99 Tuesday.  Continue reading...

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